My Courses

Theory and practice of pastoral care and counseling within a Lutheran and ecumenical context. Integration of biblical, theological, liturgical, spiritual, and psychological perspectives and resources. Attention to pastoral care and brief pastoral counseling of individual children and adults, couples, and families; personal and faith development; family systems and family of origin theory. Role-playing, cases, films, lectures, small groups, etc.

Jesus said, "I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly." Yet the beliefs of Christians can abuse children and kill the human spirit. In this course we will critically examine Christian notions about such issues as human nature, sin, authority, discipline, self-denial, nudity, and sexuality and the Biblical texts cited in support of those notions. Students will be invited to identify and explore the anxiety, pain, and injury they have experienced because of Christian doctrines and beliefs taught in their churches and families of origin. They will construct ways to describe, preach, and teach a Christian faith that does not kill or maim, a faith that offers health and wholeness.

Theological and psycho-social exploration of human sexuality as intrinsic to the divine-human connection and as one of the great arenas for celebrating the Source of Life, with implications for our understandings of major teachings about God, human nature, sin, salvation, history, and eschatology.  While sex is commonly affirmed as God's good creation, many religious people still learn to fear, despise, trivialize, and be ashamed of their bodies and their sexual functions.  This course will address the relationship of sex and religion, biblical and historical development of Christian views of sex, attitudes toward the body and sexual shame, alternative sexualities, sexual disorders, dysfunctions, and abuse.  Development of personal sexual credo and strategies to foster wholesome embrace of sexuality as a core element of human identity.  Lectures/discussions/small groups/movies.  Students required to use internet resources and discussion group accessible online on the World Wide Web. [Faculty permission required / Sig. on Reg. Card]


Healing Religion's Harm
Gary Pence, Ph.D.